Dr Divya T Sudarshan
I am 4 months pregnant and have dull looking skin. But everybody always talks about the famous pregnancy glow. How come I don’t seem to experience it?
Do you know which is the largest organ affected by pregnancy? It’s not your uterus, but your skin! The changes as pregnancy progresses will show on the skin too; some good and others not so good.
One reason for the glow is that your blood circulation increases by about 50 per cent in the 5th month. This makes the heart pump harder resulting in a flush. Also you gain weight and this contributes as well. The “shine” is thanks to the hormones oestrogen, progesterone increase as pregnancy progresses. These increase oil production which gives you a shiny face (this can later become pregnancy acne in 30 per cent of women).
The reason you don’t feel as bright maybe are the other effects of hormones. Oestrogen effects create the spidery blue network of veins on your chest (to nourish your growing breasts), hence, the mottled blue skin. Oestrogen, along with progesterone and MSH, can cause skin discolourations like the darkening of the nipples. The skin on your forehead, nose and cheeks may start to look particularly tanned, creating the chloasma, or “mask of pregnancy.” It’s a sign that your skin may be more sensitive than usual to sunlight, so take extra care. Staying hydrated and moisturised helps as also staying away from the sun, being calm and relaxed automatically make your body unwind. This reduces stress on organs and results in better skin and baby health.
So the pregnancy glow that we speak of is transient. It’s like a glowing bride, it depends on how happy she is and how good the make up is. Sometimes you have to take what people say with a pinch of salt!
(The writer is a gynaecologist and obstetrician practising at Happy Women Clinic. You can write in to her at firstname.lastname@example.org)